Friday, June 5, 2015

The Benefits and the Benefactor

"There is a center to the Bible and its message of grace. It is found in Jesus Christ crucified and resurrected. Grace, therefore, must be preached in a way that is centered and focused on Jesus Christ Himself. We must never offer the benefits of the gospel without the Benefactor Himself. For many preachers, however, it is much easier to deal with the pragmatic things, to answer “how to” questions, and even to expose and denounce sin than it is to give an adequate explanation of the source of the forgiveness, acceptance, and power we need.

It is a disheartening fact that evangelical Christians, who write vast numbers of Christian books, preach abundant sermons, sponsor numerous conferences and seminars, and broadcast myriad TV and radio programs actually write few books, preach few sermons, sponsor few conferences or seminars, and devote few programs to the theme of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We give our best and most creative energies to teaching God’s people almost everything except the person and work of our Lord and Savior. This should cause us considerable alarm, for there is reason to fear that our failure here has reached epidemic proportions.

We need to return to a true preaching to the heart, rooted in the principle of grace and focused on the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then people will not say about our ministry merely, “He was an expository preacher,” or “That was practical,” or even “He cut open our consciences.” Instead, they will say: “He preached Christ to me, and his preaching was directed to my conscience. It was evident that he gave the best of his intellectual skills and the warmth of his compassion to thinking about, living for, and proclaiming his beloved Savior, Jesus Christ.” This is what will reach the heart! And when you have experienced such preaching, or seen its fruit, you will know what true preaching is. And you will agree that its fruit lasts for all eternity."

           - Sinclair Ferguson, in Feed My Sheep: